Alexander Zemlinsky: 6 Gesänge

  • for medium voice and orchestra
  • 4 3 3 2 - 2 3 3 0 - timp, perc(2), hp, cel, harm, pno, str
  • Duration: 16’
  • Instrumentation details:
    1. piccolo (+3. fl)
    2. piccolo
    1. flute
    2. flute
    1. oboe
    2. oboe
    cor anglais
    1. clarinet in B (+cl(A))
    2. clarinet in B (+cl(A))
    bass clarinet in B (+bass cl(A))
    1. bassoon
    2. bassoon
    1. horn in F
    2. horn in F
    1. trumpet in C
    2. trumpet in C
    3. trumpet in C
    1. trombone
    2. trombone
    3. trombone
    timpani
    perc(2)
    harp
    celesta
    harmonium
    pno
    violin I(9)
    violin II(8)
    viola(7)
    violoncello(6)
    contrabass(5)
  • Composer: Alexander Zemlinsky
  • Text author: Maurice Maeterlinck

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Work introduction

Sechs Gesänge based on poems by Maurice Maeterlinck were composed as piano songs in 1910 and 1913 and orchestrated in 1924. They show the art of song writing at its very best. The vocal part is characterised by sensitivity and simplicity, embedded in a web of sensuous instrumental voices. Alexander Zemlinsky added an introduction to the songs, which was not included in the piano version. Three sisters with golden crowns who want to die, blindfolded girls searching for their destiny and other female characters in the cycle conjure up paintings by Gustav Klimt.

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